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Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010
Lights to go out at Hartland Lighthouse?
By Laura Joint
BBC Devon

Hartland Lighthouse
Hartland Lighthouse has been an aid to navigation since 1874

Hartland Lighthouse is one of Devon's most iconic buildings - built in 1874, it perches precariously on the north Devon coast, beaming its flashing warning light to passing mariners.

But, after 136 years, it seems it might be reaching the end of its service - rendered out of date by satellite navigation and other hi-tech gadgets.

Trinity House, which operates the UK's lighthouses, is holding a review.

And among the ideas is to cease operating Hartland Lighthouse.

Trinity House is taking views from mariners who use Hartland Lighthouse. Consultation is until the end of January 2010 and a decision will be made in early 2010.

The lighthouse was built under the direction of Sir James Douglass and is a much loved landmark.

However, Trinity House says its job is to provide the best possible aids for shipping.

Lundy South Lighthouse
The range of Lundy South Lighthouse could be increased

"We are getting views," said Steve Dunning of Trinity House. "We are funded by our users and we have to provide what they need.

"We have to provide the right aids to navigation. We have done this for a very long time and we are rather good at it.

"This is a changing world and shipping is less dependant on lights now. Shipping now has aids such as sat nav.

"We'd rather people come up with reasons for keeping it other than its history and age - it's all about what is needed for safe navigation at sea.

"Obviously, we will look at all the views."

The lighthouse became automated in 1984. Before that, the station was manned by four keepers who lived with their families in dwellings attached to the lighthouse. The homes were demolished at the time of automation.

The suggestion for Hartland in the Trinity House review is to "discontinue all aids to navigation at this station, in conjunction with increasing the range at Trevose Head Lighthouse to 24nm and Lundy South Lighthouse to 18nm, and establishing a lighted buoy off Hartland Point".

Mr Dunning issued this reassurance, however: "Under no circumstances will we knock Hartland Lighthouse down.

"We understand that it is a focal point for the community."

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